Friday 4 February 2000
England's black cricketers left Irving 'queasy'
BY MICHAEL HORSNELL
DAVID IRVING'S lament for an "old England", in which the national cricket team was white to a man and Jack Warner gave avuncular advice from the steps of Dock Green police station, was played to a rapt High Court yesterday. The last thing that Anglo-Saxon Englishmen returning from abroad expected to greet them at Heathrow was an immigration officer of Pakistani descent.
He said that "Traitor No 1 to the British cause" was Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone [right]. The deputy leader of the House of Lords and chairman of the Conservative Party, as he then was, was said to have told the Cabinet in 1958: "I don't think this coloured immigration is going to be much of a problem in Britain. We only have 100,000 of these immigrants so far, and I don't think the numbers are likely to grow much beyond that. So on balance I am against having any restrictions imposed."
Mr Irving said that in the search for culprits in his changed England, he would like to think that there was "somebody, somewhere, doing what Gilbert and Sullivan would have had the Mikado do: which is making up a little list of names of people . . . ". Even if the clock were turned back, however, most of the guilty would have passed on, commemorated only by the bronze plaques, statues and memorials scattered around the capital.
Not even Mrs Thatcher, he thought in 1990, would be able to put Britain back where it was, and certainly not the Socialist Party. Mr Irving went on to tell the Clarendon Club: "Nothing makes me shudder more than two or three months, working on a new manuscript, and I arrive back at Heathrow airport - where of course my passport is checked by a Pakistani immigration officer. Isn't that a humiliation for us English?" Mr Irving is suing Deborah Lipstadt, an American academic, and Penguin Books for libel over a book in which she describes him as a holocaust denier.
He was questioned by Richard Rampton, QC, for the defence, about his remarks to the club and a speech that he made at Bow Town Hall, East London, in 1992. In that speech, he spoke of feeling "queasy about the immigration disaster that's happened to Britain" and the infiltration of the England cricket team by black players.
"Why queasy?" Mr Rampton asked. Mr Irving, the author of Hitler's War, relied: "I was speaking about what a pity it is we have to have blacks on the team and they are better than our whites. I say it's a pity because I am English."
The England he was born in in 1938 was different, he said, and he was imbued with all its values. In a clash over Mr Rampton's allegations of racism and his own preference to be described as a patriot, Mr Irving said: "Patriotism is respecting the country handed down to you by your fathers. I don't think there is anything despicable or disreputable about patriotism."
He said that blacks were not inferior to whites but were different from them.
"I wish I could go to Heathrow airport, take a 747 and fly back ten hours later to find England as it used to be.
"In the 1950s, Britain was a country at peace. We had defeated a major world power, we were licking our wounds and recovering, and for no perceptible reason we then, through the folly and negligence of the Government we had voted into power, inflicted on this country a body wound which only began at that time."
The hearing was adjourned until Monday.
Friday, February 4, 2000